Bounceback in pedestrian numbers for Queenstown CBD image 1

Bounceback in pedestrian numbers for Queenstown CBD

Swift recovery in Queenstown CBD

Thursday 13 Apr 2023

Queenstown CBD has seen a swift recovery from Covid lows, according to the latest Colliers Otago Pedestrian Count. The count demonstrated an overall 285% increase in pedestrian numbers compared to the 2022 data, with figures almost on par with 2017 levels. 

The annual count was recorded on Wednesday 15th March 2023 for half hour periods at 10am, 3pm and 8pm. Traditionally mirroring and reinforcing the status of the tourism market, 2023 is no exception, showing consistency with the well-publicised recovery in visitor numbers.

The highest-growth timeslot was 8pm, with numbers up 367% on 2022. Steamer Wharf and Upper Brecon Street (Upper Village) had the highest volumes of foot traffic in the evening, the latter being a significant move up the rankings from previous years. The move is likely attributable to the appeal of the recently-completed retail/entertainment complex along with increasing appetite for the town’s restaurants and nightlife.

Other notable changes in popularity include Camp Street returning to third position following the opening of DFS, a strong result considering the bus stops are no longer located there. Lower Beach Street has also seen a marked increase in foot traffic, potentially due to the more inviting pedestrianised streetscape.

Heather Beard, Valuation Director at Colliers Queenstown, says ‘the trend was, to a large degree, expected given the return of the international market last year, but the actual volume is heartening for CBD owners and occupiers. We’re optimistic that the disruptions of the last few years are over, which, combined with the completion of a number of construction works around town, is enticing both locals and vistors back to the central areas’.

Strong commercial property market dynamics in the CBD are resulting in solid demand for prime retail premises from national and international retailers, however availability of space is limited. Tight supply and strong demand for prime space is contributing to increased rents, above pre-Covid levels according to Colliers commercial broker, Mary-Jo Hudson.

Taking place every year since 2005, 2021 saw the lowest numbers since records began, being 33% lower than the previous low of 2008. The 2021 figure gives context to the strength of the 2023 numbers.


Top 10 spots in 2023:

1. West Rees Street (Kathmandu)

2. West Rees Street (Ugg)

3. Central Camp Street (O’Connells)

4. East Camp Street (Just Jeans)

5. Steamer Wharf (Lakeside)

6. Central Shotover Street (Huffer)

7. Lower Beach Street (Fear Factory)

8. Lower Beach Street (toilets)

9. Steamer Wharf (Entrance)

10. Camp Street (Happy Tours)